Valorization of biomass to hydroxymethylfurfural, levulinic acid, and fatty acid methyl ester by heterogeneous catalysts

Season S. Chen, Thawatchai Maneerung, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Yong Sik Ok, Chi Hwa Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

190 Citations (Scopus)


Biomass conversion to value-added chemicals and fuels over heterogeneous catalysts is one of the top issues in green chemistry. This review focuses on recent advances in the application of solid catalysts for producing three prominent bio-based chemicals, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), levulinic acid (LA) and fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) from biomass materials, respectively. Our work highlights the perspectives and challenges during the conversion of actual biomass, including the impact of complex constituents and impurities of biomass on the solid catalysts, mass transfer limitation in the reactions, and the stability and deactivation of the solid catalysts. Transformation of solid catalysts from research to industrialization necessitates future work on identification of interactions between the catalysts and actual biomass, and comprehensive evaluation of the suitability of the catalysts in the reaction systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-273
Number of pages28
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Hong Kong Environmental and Conservation Fund [K-ZB78, 2016] and Hong Kong International Airport Environmental Fund [K-ZJKC, 2015].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Biomass valorization
  • Biorefinery
  • Fatty acid methyl ester (FAME)
  • Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF)
  • Levulinic acid (LA)
  • Solid catalyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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